Onlookers in central Myanmar caught a Buddhist pagoda’s final moments on camera as it sank into the Irrawaddy River this summer. Recent rainstorms had weakened the riverbank and destabilized the stupa’s foundation, causing it to slip into the water.
Abbot U Pyinnya Linkkara filmed the stupa’s descent. He noted that it had been far from the riverbank when it was built in 2009, but that over the course of the past few years the monsoon season’s heavy rainfall caused major erosion. Thousands of people in Myanmar have been displaced because of this year’s flooding. It appears that no one was hurt as the structure fell into the river, but onlookers were still heartbroken to see the temple go: the video captured visitors’ wails.
When Monks Get Audited
After a rash of financial scandals in Thai Buddhist temples—as well as even more serious crimes (such as murder)—the country’s military junta has proposed a law requiring Buddhist organizations, including the Office of National Buddhism, the government department that oversees Buddhist temples, to publicize their financial records. In the past, financial reporting had been enforced only in temples known to receive large amounts in donations. The government has also passed a measure requiring ordained Buddhist monks to carry a chip-embedded ID card that includes information about the monk’s temple, ordination date, and criminal history. This will replace the paper cards that monks carry now, which are easy to fake.
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